(Design by Tracie Prichard of The Ink and Grain)
It is crazy that our 2nd born child is here! And even cooler that we have our girl!!
I’m often afraid I’m going to wake up and it’s all doing to be a dream. But alas, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a dream and it all really happened and she’s here to stay :) (yay!)
I wanted to take some time to share with you the story of how little Miss London came into this world :)
With Jaxon’s labor being so long and brutal (you can read Jaxon’s birth story here), I had no idea what to expect with this one. I could only hope and pray that London’s labor wouldn’t be a repeat! As I’m starting this post, it’s only been one week and already, some of the details are fading, so I thought I would go ahead and write this down!
September 16, 2015 | 6 Days Past Due
3:45 am – I woke up to my first contraction and then waited to see if more would come. For the next 4 hours contractions were coming. They were on average 7-8 minutes apart lasting about a minute to a minute and a half. I figured since they weren’t letting up that it was the beginning of labor, and because we had no idea what to expect as to how long this labor might go, I was trying my best to get sleep and decided not to wake Zach so he could get as much rest as possible.
Because I hadn’t had the best sleep, Zach got up with Jax that morning to allow me a little more rest. I got up a little later and we started getting things in order. (It is way harder having one kid already when trying to have a 2nd kid. Childcare details & logistics can be stressful!). Once I got up and started moving around, the contractions slowed down a bit. I didn’t know if labor was stopping or stalling, so luckily, I had my 41 week appointment scheduled that morning at 10:45 so we went ahead and went to it. We loaded up the car with our hospital bags just in case we would be going straight from my appt to the hospital, and then we dropped off Jaxon at our neighbor’s (thank-you, Tammy!! xoxo).
10:45 am – We arrived at my OBGYN’s office (we love Dr. Meaders and the staff at Heritage Medical!! She’s amazing!) and they went ahead and hooked me up to a fetal monitor to check on London’s heartbeat and also the contractions. At that point they were about 12 minutes apart lasting around 30 seconds, and were easy to get through. My OBGYN saw me and I was around 3 cm and 40% effaced (the previous week I was 1-2). Obviously I wasn’t ready to head to the hospital quite yet, so we talked about stripping my membranes to encourage labor along (this was something I wasn’t keen on doing initially, but because labor had already started on its own, I wasn’t opposed to it at this point). The only problem was, my OBGYN was going to be out of pocket from 2-6 that day taking a test so if I happened to be ready to deliver during that time, then she wouldn’t be there (boo). We decided to wait and see how things would progress on their own. We left with instructions to head to the hospital if contractions became 4-5 minutes apart lasting a minute to a minute and a half, OR if labor wasn’t going anywhere, to come in around 4:30 and they could strip my membranes so I could deliver that evening.
We arrived home and I laid down and slept between contractions while Zach hung with Jax. With me being such a planner it was so hard to know how to plan accordingly because we didn’t know how labor was going to progress. My contractions were still coming, but just weren’t picking up at all. We were in communication with my doula (Jeannie Casey of Nashville Childbirth. She’s so great!) as to what we should do and she said I needed to get out of my head and just let labor come to me. (So hard!).
We decided to take a walk outside, so Zach loaded Jax in the stroller, and I was unsure if it was something I was up for, but Zach encouraged me and I’m glad we walked around. The fresh air felt so good, though as each contraction came, I’d have to stop and focus through it. They were definitely stronger than earlier, though not picking up speed too much.
4:30 pm – So Zach could focus solely on me, we went ahead and called one of our nannies who was available to come over and be with Jax.
5:00 pm – Our amazing OBGYN called us from her cell to check in on us and we said we wanted to wait it out and see what happened. The biggest thing I was worried of was going to the hospital, having them strip my membranes and then all of a sudden we were on their clock. Maybe it wouldn’t get labor going like we hoped and then they would want to get contractions going artificially via Pitocin, and then contractions would get really tough, and then I’d want the epidural and then it could start the slippery slope of all these medical interventions and then I would end up with a C-section. Needless to say, I didn’t want THAT happening, so that’s what kept us from going in at that point.
6:00 pm – I decided to take a bath to try and chill out. To help keep my mind occupied, Zach entertained me by reading jokes that he found on Reader’s Digest or some website of the sort. We stopped timing them but contractions were definitely getting more intense and super uncomfortable, but not very close together.
7:00pm – I decided that if labor continued to progress, I’d rather be at the hospital than at home and going through really hard labor in the 30 minute car ride (which I did with Jax. Blah.). We made the choice to go to the hospital. As we were getting ready to head out the door, I was having to stop and focus and breathe through each contraction. They were getting pretty sucky. We texted my doula and told her we were headed to the hospital and she said she would meet us there.
The drive there wasn’t the most fun – contractions were very strong and painful. I did realize that contractions weren’t AS bad if I kept my eyes open and focused on something else. Soooooo I was reading off license plate numbers to myself, pointing out the obvious as to what I was seeing during the drive, reading street signs – anything to keep my mind off my laboring body.
7:45 pm – We arrive at the hospital (Jeannie arrived at the same time) and they took me back and checked me and low and behold I was at 7cm! I was floored! With Jaxon’s birth it took over 40 hours of really sucky, consistent labor to barely get to a 6! To be at a 7 already was awesome and a boost to my confidence. We called our birth photographer (Evin Photography) and videographer (Kalimana Films) and they began to head our way.
The hospital admitted me and got me upstairs to Labor & Delivery and initially hooked me up to monitor London’s heartbeat. It was super uncomfortable because of course, I was flat on my back. Finally they let me get off the bed and sit on a birthing ball – WAY more comfy. Contractions where coming and Zach & Jeannie were supporting me through them, but I just got to thinking that I might want an epidural.
Before I had Jaxon, I was all about going el natural and not having any medical interventions, especially if it put risk to our child. Then after 40 hours of labor at home (with Jaxon’s birth), the epidural was my saving grace and I would not have been able to make it the whole 50 hours of labor and THEN push him out after going through all that. I walked away from that experience grateful for doctors and especially for anesthesiologists :)
Going into London’s birth we were aiming to do it naturally at the hospital, but I wasn’t opposed to the epidural either.
So here I am, at the hospital, probably at an 8 by now, knowing that it’s getting close to go time. One of my concerns for not wanting the epidural was if I got it too soon, it would really slow labor down and then it would open the door for medical interventions to happen [like I mentioned, Pitocin being one of my main concerns, which is used to speed labor up once the epidural slows it down (and new studies are possibly linking it to autism… Not for sure, but I’d rather play it safe), which can put stress on the baby and then can oftentimes lead to a C-section, which I did NOT want]. Because I was far enough along, that wasn’t an issue anymore. Then I was thinking about it and the only 2 other reasons I was holding out was because of others and ego. I didn’t want to let Zach or my doula down by not going the drug-free route, and I wanted to be able to say that I did it naturally… Because that’s the cool thing these days (and of course, safest way to go :). Zach and Jeannie encouraged me that I was so close and could totally do it, but either way, I wouldn’t be letting them down, Zach told me it wasn’t their birth, it was mine and I could do whatever I wanted.
They brought the anesthesiologist in just so I could chat with her (I was wondering if maybe she could make a concoction that would just take the edge off). This young, pretty doctor walks in and she was amazing. She was so great listening to me and what I wanted and answering my questions about getting the epidural. She said she’d do her best to take the edge off but couldn’t make any guarantees (I guess it’s not that simple in the anesthesiologist world). I made up my mind and decided to get the epidural. I decided that I wanted to be able to enjoy the birth of my daughter and be focused on her and not the pain that came along with it. Shooooot, I already did enough pain time for both births with Jaxon’s labor alone :)
So, I got the epidural and it was awesome. Whatever Amanda (the anesthesiologist) did it was great because I was not paralyzed from the waist down. I could still move my legs and even feel the contractions. They were slightly uncomfortable as it was becoming time to push, but the “dosage” was perfect because I wanted to be able to feel what was going on!
So now that the epidural was in place, my film crew had arrived ;), and it was time to wait until my body was fully dilated and ready to push this baby out! (Thanks to Evin of Evin Photography for all of the memorable pictures we have!!)
As we were waiting, two slight scares happened.
Scare #1: As we all were just chilling in the room, all of a sudden our amazing nurse, Lisa, got all business-like and became completely hands-on with me and the heart monitor. London’s heartbeat dropped to 50 bpm (it should be around 130-150). Lisa started moving me from side to side, moving my belly and the monitor trying to relocate the heartbeat, and they brought out an oxygen mask and strapped it to my face. It seemed like forever, but in real time, who knows how long it actually was – maybe just minutes. When Lisa moved me on my other side, the heartbeat was found and with each deep breath I took of the oxygen, we could hear the heartbeat pick up. It was a scary few moments. Thoughts were racing in my head, “Oh man, we’re going to have to have a C-section, and it’s going to be my fault because I got the epidural (one of the downsides of the epi is you’re stuck to the bed and can’t move around, which is why her heartbeat dropped- she was laying on her cord funny and due to my immobility she didn’t move off it until the nurse moved me). But like I said, her heartbeat picked back up and things were totally ok. Whew. During those tense moments I had Zach on one side and Evin, my dear friend (and our photographer) on the other side holding my hand reassuring me that everything was going to be ok and praying for me. So thankful for people like that in my life! Love, you, Ev!
Scare #2: At some point they broke my water and meconium was in it (meaning London had a bowel movement inside). Dr. Meaders told me that there would be a slight change in plans and that I would not be able to do skin to skin after she was born but that the NICU would be brought in and London would have to go straight to them; they had to ensure that she hadn’t digested any meconium. That bummed me out, but I knew it was more important for her to be safe.
10:35 pm – Time to start pushing! After being at the hospital less than 2.5 hours I couldn’t believe that it was time to start pushing! After 25 minutes, out popped our little baby girl!
11:00 pm – London Rain was born :) A fun fact: Jaxon and London were both born 6 days late at the same time! So crazy!
My doctor actually let me grab her and then I got to hold my precious daughter for a few sweet moments before NICU took her to make sure she was ok.
Zach headed to the side of the room where they had the infant warmer and stayed with London while the NICU did their thing. It seemed like forever, but maybe was 10 minutes??
After the NICU made sure that she was completely ok, London was brought to me for me to hold.
It was so surreal that in my arms was my DAUGHTER! There she was, lying on me… And she was so tiny! At 6 lbs, 11 oz and 19 inches long, I couldn’t believe she was actually here.
Giving birth to London was such a great experience. The staff at Centennial Hospital was phenomenal, as they were last time with Jax, and my doula Jeannie was great. A huge thanks to Dr. Meaders and Jeannie, my doula (pictured below :).
Looking back, getting the epidural was the right choice and I’m so glad I got it. It really allowed us (especially me :) to be able to enjoy London being born and be fully present and focused on her and what was happening… See me smiling in the below pic? Yeah, that’s me in between pushing :)
This birth was so different than Jaxon’s. Zach and I were way more engaged and aware of what was going on. It was partially due to the fact that we had been through this once so we knew what to expect, but it was mostly due to the fact that this time we weren’t going on almost 50 hours of not sleeping and were practically delirious :) Also, once labor with Jax got going it didn’t let up, and with London it eased back during the afternoon allowing me to rest – which was awesome :)
Here’s Zach getting to hold London for the first time!
As I’m finishing this post, London is almost 6 weeks old. I can’t believe she has been here that long already. Where in the world did that time go?
We both have always loved the name London… I’d say for at least five years and the name has always stuck. It’s cool though that the city of London has been interwoven in our lives and story. Our career as photographers and educators brought us to London a few times to speak and lead workshops, and the name and the city is such a great representation of how the Lord extremely blessed us to travel the world and do what we love. It is our prayer that London has a spirit of adventure and never dares to dream and hope for what others may think impossible.
Her middle name does not come from the fact that the city of London is often rainy but it’s representative of what the Lord has been doing in the personal lives of Zach and myself and in our marriage this year. True life-change happens when the Holy Spirit is allowed to come in and heal past wounds and the deepest parts of us. In the Bible, water is often representative of the Holy Spirit and water is cleansing. Rain brings life to all it touches, refreshes a dry land, and washes impurities away. We chose the name Rain as a statement for the work the Holy Spirit has begun and what he will be faithful to complete as we continue to pursue him and each other.
A little update on how things are going:
Jaxon is still enjoying London and kisses her often throughout the day. It was absolutely precious when he met her for the first time, so if you missed it on Facebook, you can see the sweet moments in our birth video at the bottom of ti post. Having Jax meet his sister was definitely a highlight of the whole experience, and I am SO glad that we had Kali there to capture the sweet moments. I will forever treasure having the footage!
Jaxon still asks to hold London, but then after a few moments he’s good to go and onto the next thing. Ha ha. When she cries he’ll put the paci in her mouth… And he likes to stick his finger in the paci as she’s sucking. He says, “Feels funny!” ha. We’re still having to remind him to be gentle at times.
Jax has gotten a little bit whiny here and there so we’re trying to be sensitive to his needs, but at the same time, not allowing behavior that isn’t acceptable.
London is doing great. She’s eating like a champ and also sleeping really well. The first night home, she was up every two hours. Ever since then she’s been sleeping at night with at least one 4 hour stretch, if not 2 four hour stretches each night. Complete heaven! She’s on a 3 hour eat/wake/sleep routine, though some days she completely skips a sleep and is up for a few hours… Then she crashes later. Ha. There’s been a few days where she hasn’t slept very well in the afternoon or evening and those nights she has rocked 7 hours straight of sleep. Woo hoo! She’s growing and gaining weight perfectly, so unless my pediatrician says otherwise, we are letting her sleep through at night until she wakes to eat!
(Below: London, 10 days new)
Everyone keeps asking how it has been going from one to two. Well… There’s some part of me that wants to say that it’s been really tough, just so it doesn’t make some others feel bad who have had a hard time making the transition, but honestly, it’s been surprisingly a smooth transition and pretty easy. Way better than what I expected! London sleeping so well at night has helped tremendously, and because Zach and I are both off work we both are able to be fully present with the kids (ah, so crazy that it’s now “kidS”). The first few weeks after London’s morning feeding, I would go right back to bed getting an extra hour or two of sleep (London would go back to sleep too). Zach has been getting up with Jaxon when he wakes (around 7am), then once I get up, we all chill as a family. We try and get out at least once a day, whether to the bookstore (they have a train set to play with – woo hoo!), Starbucks, lunch, Target, or to hit the chiropractor or a local coffee shop. Some days Zach takes just Jax out for a bit and then I have been able to have some one-on-one time with London, or extra nap times earlier on (which was greatly needed and appreciated once we got home from the hospital!).
We still have had our two nannies come on their respective week day. Jax thrives with that one-on-one time with them and we haven’t wanted to change things up too much for him. It’s also been a great time for Zach and I to get out of the house and have some time with each other (and a sleeping baby) as the nanny is with Jaxon… We get coffee together and read a marriage book we’re working through and will hit a store or two for fun. (We even went out, kid free, and saw a movie!). Having Steph and Martha is great, and let’s not forget to mention how amazing it is to have the dishwasher unloaded, dirty dishes put away, our laundry folded and in our closets when each of them is here. Please and thank-you! These two are awesome and definitely make our lives easier.
When Zach, Jax, London and I are chilling at home, we’re either all hanging together or we each are mainly focused on one kid. If Jax is wanting one of us, the other passes London off to the other parent so we can make sure Jax knows he’s a priority to us still.
Not doing this alone is what has made the transition a lot easier. We don’t have family close by (though my mom got to fly in for a few days a week after London was born!), and it’s been great to have the support of family and friends (thanks to everyone for all the meals!). I’m also so thankful that Zach and I are both able to unplug from work and just focus on our family. It will be interesting to see how things play out when Zach starts back at work again “full-time” and I’m tapping in a bit here and there to work on our software that’s about to launch. I did have the kids by myself one weekend when Zach went on a men’s retreat, which I was totally nervous about! It went way easier than I thought, though I lucked out when, for the most part, one was awake, the other was sleeping. This allowed me to focus on one kid at a time, which was great. It’s a challenge when BOTH kids are awake needing me and I’m the only adult around. So, we’ll see how that goes in a few months once it’s just me and both kids (for the most part) AND I’ll be trying to work a bit too.
It is so cool that we now are a family of FOUR. Thanks so much for taking the time to read our story and how we are doing!
I leave you with the highlight film of our birth story captured by Kali of Kalimana films.